Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Winds

The winds have really picked up forced by a strong north-south pressure gradient and the mixing of high momentum air from aloft. Take a look at my favorite plot...the seattle profiler (I know its not pretty...all I got!). Temperatures above us have warmed immensely....14C (57F) right above the surface. Its 52 at my building. And very strong winds from the SW are aloft....the profiler shows 50 knot (58 mph) at 400 m (roughly 1300ft) above the surface. Sustained winds of 35 knots have been observed over the water and 20-25 knots over land (knot is 1.15 mph). Gusts are higher of course. The NWS did forecast strong winds...although not quite this strong. I am sure there will be some power outages.


Legend: height in meters, time in GMT increasing from right to left. Red lines are temperature in C.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

power has been off here on Mercer Island since 12:45 PM today. The National Weather Service Wind Advisory was posted at 1:21 PM
Another case of "not seeing it coming"?

Allan said...

I'm looking at your wind profiler which you just put online. What is the "x" axis or abscissa?

Thanks,

Joseph Ratliff said...

Winds haven't been TOO awfully bad...breezy though here in Lacey...about 14-22mph gusting to no more than 29mph...but we'll see...they may pick up.

Been raining ALL day though, non-stop.

Anonymous said...

Will the winds be stronger (or weaker) in the foothills?

Walter Harley said...

@Allan, I think the X axis is time (more recent to the left, imagine a paper tape printer with the tape spooling off to the right). The Y axis is altitude. The red lines show temperature gradients; the blue barb symbols show wind speed and direction. Somewhat confusingly, the blue barbs are compass direction: that is, right now it's SSW wind, not "up and to the right".

This is all surmise from studying the pictures and reading what Cliff's written; I don't actually know it to be true.

Cliff, when the temp gradients go from horizontal (colder air higher up) to vertical (same temp at all altitudes, warming over time), like they did between 06/15:00 and 06/18:00 in this chart, what causes that? Is it vertical mixing of the layers?

CatPat said...

Cliff, I have a request about your blog's design.

Would it be possible to have the graphics open in a new separate window rather than substituting the graphics page for the blog page? Your explanations of the graphics are very helpful, but I have to keep hitting the "back" and "forward" keys to go between them, trying to remember what I've just read or seen.

It'd be great to be able to see both your graphics and your explanations side by side.

Thank you again for your wonderful blog.

AnnB said...

BTW, if you use a browser with tabbed browsing, you can Right click on the graphic and choose to open the graphic in a new window or a new tab. (Works great in Firefox v3!)

Ditto on the kudos for the blog!

SnowLover said...

So I know this will probably cause someone to yell at me, but what the heck.

I have lived in CA. I have lived on the East Coast a few times, and even in the midwest. And now I live here (for almost 10 years now).

I can say without question, this is the dumbest weather place I have ever lived in in all of my years. And by dumb I mean that it's probably super facinating if you're Cliff or a weather nut, but as someone who lives in it, it's dumb. Rain shadows, micro climates, convergence zones, no radar off the coast so you don't know what's coming...yuck.

I sat today watching completely GLOOMY skies, clouds moving at breakneak speed above me (and not very high up, I might add), and yet, no rain. I can't think of anything more depressing. Very, very gloomy.

It's a beautiful area. The mountains, the topology -- I love it. But the weather here I could live without. It can't make up its mind.

Anonymous said...

Suggestions?....on where to see rainfall totals on current storm (really 15 inches of rain up in mtns) and then the snowfall, say in Bellevue, this winter to date??

Anonymous said...

SnowLover - the chaotic weather is what makes this place so great! It keeps everybody off balance except those that are prepared for it. Events like the storm in Dec06 brought our community together more than ever before (I am 41). Cheers to Western Washington!!

Jerry said...

CLIFF~
Any reason that the Sedro-Woolley area is not "warming up" quite like the rest of W-Washington? We have seen 40 maybe once since the "pinapple xpress" has arrived. 49 in Mount Vernon, 38 in Sedro.

I would love to hear what makes THIS area interestingly different...
http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KWASEDRO4

Ashley said...

Here in Woodinville the power is flickering and the greenbelt behind my house is downright scary with wind. I hear breaking and creaking out there....sigh.

SnowLover said...

You can have great weather events and still know they are coming. Having been in the midwest, I can tell you they get incredibly interesting events. Thunderstorms, sometimes a tornado, blizzards, but it all just happens and you know it's coming (save for the tornado).

Here, you have an entire area blanketed in dark, dark clouds, and a pocket of no rain. That is just weird to me. And depressingly gloomy.

AJ said...

Hey, it's warmer and it's not snowing. This works for me. Oh, Brian Williams on NBC nightly news just showed a satellite image of the storm hitting us. It is massive, stretching almost to Hawaii.

Surfs up, ride the wave!

AJ said...

SnowLover - I totally agree with the gloomy thing. It does get old, like by November, and then we still have four more months of it! I've never gotten used to it. However, I've found that a couple weekend trips per winter to Palm Springs and/or Phoenix helps take the pain away.

We may be gloomy but we're only 2.5 hours away from warm sunshine. Can't say that about the Midwest!

Weatherfreak said...

Been living in the NW all my life and can't think of a better place to live for a weather watcher. Where else do you have such a diversity in climates? Rain forests on the coast, some of the heaviest snow in the country in Cascades, and sage brush desert in the East. The only element I wish we had more of is Thunderstorms. But then again, who likes the humidity the usually goes along with them. BTW, as I write, strong winds, rain pounding on my window, and a warm cup of tea! Does it get any better??? ;)

epjmcginley said...

Oyster bay (sea level) - NW Thurston County
Very strong winds blowing,
lots of rain.

SnowLover said...

@weatherfreak: I hear you, and I'm sure there are areas around here cooler than others. I am up in Sammamish, and I can't think of a dummber place, especially where we live right along the ridge, so we have even our own micro climate in Sammamish, different from the rest because of the lake. It's weird.

Right now, I have gusts of wind, no rain, and low clouds. Nothing fun about that.

Joseph Ratliff said...

In Lacey... winds 18mph gusting to 27mph...not too bad so far...but raining like a mad dog!

And Weatherfreak, nothing like that warm cup of tea as long as the power doesn't go out ;)

Julia said...

Just had a house-rocking gust at my protected hillside in Union Mills and decided to check some weather sites. It was miserable this afternoon when I went out to check the cattle, winds SE gusting to about 20mph and rain blowing in curtains. I don't notice the wind until I'm fifty feet from the house, and by then I'm committed to getting the work done and getting back into the house as fast as possible.

Anonymous said...

Olalla: The wind has been pretty steady all day, but not the rain. There's been rain more often than not, but not often very hard. I guess the rain shadow is extending this far south for the time being.

A couple of minor flickers, but no power outage. I suspect that Sunday/Monday's heavy wet snow cleaned out most of the stuff that was weakened by the earlier snowfall. Walking in the woods we can see evidence everywhere of brush being beaten down by snow. Broken sword ferns anyplace they're not protected by tall firs. Many, many fir branches down, almost to the point they've caught up with alder. We can see farther into the woods from the roads almost everywhere.

- Pete

epjmcginley said...

Oyster Bay - nw Thurston County
Very strong winds now, whistling through the trees,
warm and wind driven rain.

Anonymous said...

Its worse as far as wind east of the mtns

PASCO MOCLDY 55 43 63 SW43G60 29.73F
HERMISTON, OR MOCLDY 56 42 59 SW24G40 29.81F

Anonymous said...

Winds seemed to have died down here east of North Bend. In the town proper, they were blowing pretty good around 6PM. It seems we are are somewhat sheltered from the wind this time. It is POURING however! When I could see the river (Middle Fork Snoqualmie) before it got dark, it was rising, but not as fast as '06 thank goodness. We're about 50 feet above it, but I know what happened elsewhere. Hope this is not a repeat. I'll be happy to get rid of this snow though. We still have about 10 inches and I'm hiking in as I have to abandon the car at the end of the driveway near the road.

Anonymous said...

I Lied. Wind just picked up here dramatically east of North Bend (Exit 34).

Anonymous said...

I agree that the NWS got the wind forecast wrong. In north Redmond, the wind is howling like it was during the hanukkah storm of 2006

Anonymous said...

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River is rising fast now. Level I flood stage at 8:15pm.

nocurling said...

just got home here in east oly, and the winds are calm (<10 mph), and it is not raining at present. it was pouring pretty good downtown when i left 30 minutes ago.

Tom said...

Edmonds on the ridge above the bowl. A very breezy, gusty day. Lots of branches down and several alders that needed to go anyway. No damage in my immediate area, except to the trees. No rain today and temp now 50.8. Wind is still working but not not near as hard as this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Any other migraineurs hit by this one? Things started to get interesting for me at about 1100 hrs this morning.

(You know, I could probably swing the year of college-level calc and physics. Maybe a career change is in order. Not that I could quantify things, but I'd sure know in advance...)

Anonymous said...

This weather builds character.

Blowing pretty good on Finn Hill, just north of Juanita.

Anonymous said...

Migraine alert... yeah, my neighbor got one bad at noon (seattle) and had to borrow one of my valuable Immitrex pills... didn't know we suffered like LA folks w Santa Ana..

Anonymous said...

High winds have now closed I82 between Ellensburg and Yakima

Anonymous said...

Terribly windy in Eastern Washington. Gusts of 60, thankfully power hasn't even blinked...yet. I-82 closed at Yakima to Ellensburg, and closed to trucks from Prosser to Umatilla.

Dave said...

We may be gloomy but we're only 2.5 hours away from warm sunshine. Can't say that about the Midwest!

Errr....ummm...doesn't take much longer than that to fly from Chicago to anywhere in Florida or the Gulf Coast.

Anonymous said...

The weather around here is not 'dumb', it's just bipolar. I always like to tell people the weather here is 'extremely moderate, and moderately extreme'.

By this I mean, most of the time it is b..o..r..i..n..g, but then we get the crazy stuff punctuating things: nasty, nasty wind storms, potential for huge downpours (NWS says up to 20 in. in the mtns in some spots tonight, really?), snow storms that seem to come out of nowhere, etc.

Combine all this with 16 hours of daylight in the summer, and the never ending darkness of winter, and well, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Anonymous said...

High winds aren't all bad. From another perspective, they create big waves for those that surf on the coast.

We also get large surfable waves in the city, thus preventing a 3hr drive to the coast. Aloha!

JewelyaZ said...

My migraine today started at around 11:55. So was it the pressure that dropped around then?

It's really windy here in East Bellevue and a balmy 51.6F. Nearly t-shirt weather, except for the wind (and rain) chill.

SnowLover, have you been here for a good summer yet? Do you love green things? I left the East Coast to move here ten and a half years ago and I LOVE the weather. I think it's the best-kept secret about the Pacific Northwest.

If the winter darkness gets you down, get a lightbox for your morning reading. That will fix you right up.

Anonymous said...

JewelyaZ,

I've unfortunately lived here for a summer or two, and it's been HORRIBLE. No weather whatsoever. Way too hot. Way too sunny. Not even thunderstorms to make it interesting. I'll take winter here over summer anyday! And I'll take the Midwest's exciting weather over this boring stuff any day. At least it's been nice the past few weeks. :)